Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs – Rajeev de Silva – eLanka’s Lawrence Machado catches up
Rajeev De Silva is the director of the Melbourne-based Mobile Credit Advisers which is seeing an upswing in business since Covid-19. Unlike many other businesses which have suffered due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, Mobile Credit Advisers is thriving because Rajeev said people are looking to invest, buy their own homes and start their own businesses.
Rajeev said his experience in the financial industry and his solid reputation are the main reasons for his company’s success.
ELanka caught up with Rajeev, whose impressive resume includes stints at ANZ Bank in Australia, and Seylan Bank, HSBC, and Nations Trust Bank in Sri Lanka. Rajeev was the E-banking Manger and International Manager at Nations Trust Bank.
“I studied at S Thomas College Mount Lavinia, University of Colombo, and I did my CIMA and Banking exams (AIB). In Australia, I did my Diploma in Finance and Mortgage broking and few other courses,” Rajeev said.
“I have about 17 years of banking experience and I started my own mortgage company in July 2015. So, work-wise, it is the same thing, helping people to achieve their Australian dream, which is to obtain their first home.
“I feel a sense of great accomplishment and satisfaction when I see my clients’ happy faces, especially Sri Lankan first home buyers, when I inform them that their home loan application is fully approved.
“Obviously, it’s a great achievement for them because some clients have come here as students and have gone through a challenging period and to finally be able to buy their own home is an amazing achievement to them. It’s wonderful to be a part of their success.”
Rajeev said his firm facilitates not only mum and dad home loans but also personal, investment, construction, business and car loans, asset finance, SMSF loans, development finance, and more.
He said the most challenging part of running his own business was lack of time.
“As you know, big companies and banks have separate departments for finance, legal, compliance, marketing, HR etc.,” Rajeev said. “When you start your own company, you need to cover all the areas on your own, which is very time consuming and demanding. Lack of time is a big issue for small businesses like mine.”
On the other hand, branching out on his own means he is his own boss and has the autonomy to take quick decisions. “Not having a boss to report to is a great feeling,” Rajeev said. “You can decide when to work and how to work.”
During the lockdowns, Rajeev found it easier to do business. He explains: “I think since most people work from home, there is a bit of free time. Hence there is big demand for pre-approvals and re-finances. Maybe they have extra time to think about buying another property or refinance for a lower rate.”
What advice can he give to those wanting to start their own business? “I think there are few requirements if you want to succeed in your own business,” Rajeev explains. “Rule number one is you got to love what you do.
That is to have a great passion for the work you do. You need to spend hours and hours on it initially. Also, you need the required knowledge, qualifications, experience and the capital or the infrastructure. If you lack any of these qualities, your business will not be successful.”
Rajeev’s wife Jayamini Manamendra has also changed careers, starting her own yoga and meditation classes in Melbourne, a far cry from being a CPA accountant. He said Buddhism plays a huge spiritual part in their lives. “Both of us love tranquility, quietness and serenity in our lives,” Rajeev said. “We don’t like the rat race or never-ending wealth accumulation. The happiness you get from giving to someone and expecting nothing in return is far greater than buying another investment property or a luxury vehicle. Whenever we get the opportunity, we go to the beautiful hill country of Sri Lanka and stay few weeks enjoying the stillness.”
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